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Regarding the Bullpen

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RedSox.com has a nice story on the 2006 Red Sox bullpen that I thought was worth responding to.

Obviously, the Red Sox have put their faith in Keith Foulke's knees. Many would say (perhaps even Foulke) that this is a move that demonstrates how they're sticking by their guy, and that they're confident that he'll return to form. As the article mentions, its true that Foulke has had bad stretches in his career to go along with GREAT stretches.

The point is, The Sox could afford to take a flyer on Foulke with Craig Hansen waiting in the wings. Even if Foulke if bad early, Boston can probably afford to being in Hansen (even if he starts the year in AAA) to close.

The other factor is pride. KF is entering his contract year. He's also too much of a gamer to afford another season of crappy pitching. Schilling is in a similar position. We all know how huge those guys were in 2004, and they know that they need to be those guys again.

The rest of the pen could be very solid. Timlin will be the horse in the 8th. Hansen and Mota should be battling it out for the 7th, and Seanez will be solid as well. That leaves room for (at most) 2 more spots. Delcarmen could get it, though I think he'll spend the year in AAA. DiNardo is a possibility also because of his flexibility. We may still pick up another arm. This also hinges on how big a bench we want to carry. I very much liked the mention of Mota's return to Dave Wallace land, a place where he last had a 1.97 ERA.

The lack of a lefty is being trumpeted as a bad idea by some, but I'm not convinced. No lefty means nothing if the pitchers in the pen can have success with the lefties they face. Good quality strike-throwing arms are more important than situational pitchers.

The final issue is health, as always with pitchers. Can Timlin give another solid year? Can Foulke's knees carry the load? Is Mota going to be solid or another Mantei?

Needless to say, I like our pen much better than last year's incarnation. Hopefully they can pitch as well as we hope they can.